John Pilger

The Guardian’s description of Australia’s opposition leader Tony Abbott as “neanderthal” is not unreasonable. Misogyny is an Australian blight and a craven reality in political life. But for so many commentators around the world to describe Julia Gillard’s attack on Abbott as a “turning point for Australian women” is absurd.

Arthur Murray died the other day. I turned to Google Australia for tributes, and there was a 1991 obituary of an American ballroom instructor of the same name. There was nothing in the Australian media. The Australian newspaper published a large, rictal image of its proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, handing out awards to his employees. Arthur would have understood the silence.

Arthur Murray died the other day. I turned to Google Australia for tributes, and there was a 1991 obituary of an American ballroom instructor of the same name. There was nothing in the Australian media.

The Australian newspaper published a large, rictal image of its proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, handing out awards to his employees. Arthur would have understood the silence.

The murder of 34 miners by the South African police, most of them shot in the back, puts paid to the illusion of post-apartheid democracy and illuminates the new worldwide apartheid of which South Africa is both a historic and contemporary model.

In 1894, long before the infamous Afrikaans word foretold “separate development” for the majority people of South Africa, an Englishman, Cecil John Rhodes, oversaw the Glen Grey Act in what was then the Cape Colony.

What is the world's most powerful and violent “ism”?

The question will summon the usual demons such as Islamism, now that communism has left the stage. The answer, wrote Harold Pinter, is only “superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged”, because only one ideology claims to be non-ideological, neither left nor right, the supreme way. This is liberalism.

In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill described the power of empire.

The ferries that ply the river west of Sydney Harbour bear the names of Australia's world champion sportswomen. They include the Olympic swimming gold-medalists Dawn Fraser and Shane Gould, and runners Betty Cuthbert and Marjorie Jackson.

This is a story of two letters and two Britains. The first letter was written by Sebastian Coe, the former athlete who chairs the London Olympics Organising Committee. He is now called Lord Coe.

In the New Statesman of June 21, I reported an urgent appeal to Coe by the Vietnam Women's Union that he and his IOC colleagues reconsider their decision to accept sponsorship from Dow Chemical, one of the companies that manufactured dioxin, a poison used against the population of Vietnam.

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Arriving in a village in southern Vietnam, I caught sight of two children who bore witness to the longest war of the 20th century.

Their terrible deformities were familiar. All along the Mekong river, where the forests were petrified and silent, small human mutations lived as best they could.

Today, at the Tu Du paediatrics hospital in Saigon, a former operating theatre is known as the "collection room" and, unofficially, as the "room of horrors". It has shelves of large bottles containing grotesque foetuses.

Australia is the world’s first murdochracy. US citizen Rupert Murdoch controls 70% of the metropolitan press. He has monopolies in state capitals and provincial centres. The only national newspaper is his. He is a dominant force online and in pay-TV and publishing. Known fearfully as “Rupert”, he is the Chief Mate.

Rupert Murdoch is a bad man. His son James is also bad. Rebekah Brooks is allegedly bad. The News of the World was very bad; it hacked phones and pilloried people.

British prime ministers grovelled before this iniquity. David Cameron even sent text messages to Brooks signed "LoL", and they all had parties in the Cotswolds with Jeremy Clarkson. Nods and winks were duly exchanged on the BSkyB deal.

Shock, horror.

Offering glimpses of the power and petty gangsterism of the British tabloid press, the inquiry conducted by Lord Leveson has, I suspect, shocked few people.

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